Gimmicked Coins Can Enhance Even the Best Sleights

The Secret is Skill and TechnologyThis is revised (we made it English) and republished from the January 25, 2006 edition of Inside Magic.

There are two arguments one must avoid when one attends a magic convention

Both will destroy relationships, hurt feelings, cause resentment, ulcers, and emotional distress

They are the elephant-sized subjects we all pretend are not there

One of those two arguments is “should a great coin magician ever use gimmicked coins?”

Please understand our position from the outset. We have no pride — at all. But that is a family trait

Uncle, Billy “Bats-n-Balls” Hardy worked as a juggler during vaudeville’s heaving death-throws

In an unfortunate and inexplicable juggling accident, Billy sliced off his right ear

The cut was clean, the ear was found and preserved but the surgical technology of the time could not re-attach the ear

Billy could still hear and his hair was groomed to cover the flat spot on the right side of his nugget

Nonetheless, Billy’s career was almost ruined by the accident

He did a great bit with several hats rolling up, down, and around his body

Each hat would take a turn on Billy’s head in the routine. Because Billy had to move quickly, the hat had to be large enough to be tossed on and popped off without fail

You know where this is going

Billy needed to replace his right ear to keep the hat in position and he made a hair covered peg device affixed by a piece of elastic to his head

The peg could not be seen amidst the comb-over and held the hat in place as well (if not better than) the left ear

We, like Billy, need artificial methods to reach even the bare minimum level of performance

For instance, our coin magic serves up the perfect example of our inadequacy

Using only sleight of hand, we can muddle through some of the more complicated palming techniques in Bobo’s Modern Coin Magic


We can pull off a rudimentary Matrix, and demonstrate our less than whelming skill at predicting a coin toss. Our prediction is accurate slightly less than 27 percent of the time

But that is the extent of our skill

Sure, we can rub a coin into our elbow and pull it from the folds of our pants. Many a beginning magician can do this simple effect

We used to perform this simple trick when we were quite a bit heavier than today. Many are aware of our stomach surgery wherein a Veterinarian and his assistant surgically installed a generic brand of Velcro to reduce the space.

Our medical insurance is terrible but at least it is expensive and restrictive). We would rub the coin into our pants and pull it from the ample folds of skin surrounding the dimple on our elbow

But our point is not that we used to rub, palm, and pull objects

No, the point is we need the help of fully faked-out, gimmicked coins to do approximate any real magic


Sure, we can do it but not without the help of either gimmicked coins or a well-timed, simultaneous blinking by the entire audience..

At SCAM, we watched in awe the work of Master Coin and Card Manipulator and Inside Magic Favorite Joe Jesse

Joe does things with coins we have never seen before

His hands move in a practiced, natural, and fair manner. You would swear (or affirm) that it was more likely his magic flowed from supernatural power than from any sort of gimmicked coins

We visited with Joe amidst the crowds of on-lookers. He was holding court as only the Crown Prince of Coins could

He finished his impromptu set; we all applauded, washed our hands (most of us) and left the Men’s Room

As we were walking out, Mr. Jesse handed us the coin from his trick

It seemed odd. First, why would anyone give us anything to hold — especially money?

Second, we are not accustomed to receiving money from people as we exit a Men’s Room.

Third, the coin felt a little heavier than we expected

We guessed the coin weighed more because it was water-logged. Mr. Jesse was almost obsessive in keeping his hands and nails clean. Then we realized that coins, like almost all metal objects, do not absorb water – ever!

“No, Joe,” we wailed. “Say it’s not so!”

We figured he would recoil from our plaintive cry. We expected him to cower in a matter similar to our display of humiliation and dejection when Mother Hardy found our prized collection of Sears Fall and Spring Fashion Catalogs

But Mr. Jesse is a better man. He showed no shame; perhaps because he felt no reason to be ashamed

Mr. Jesse explained he had taken coin sleights about as far as he or any mortal could

His addition of gimmicked coins only “enhanced the performance.”

[Note: Mr. Jesse did not actually use the phrase “enhanced the performance.”

He said something similar in meaning but we translated his statement to include the key search-engine savvy phrase “enhanced the performance” because it will secure a higher placement in Google search results

Yes, Quinlan’s Inside Magic has no pride when it comes to search engine ranking. At least we did not completely sell out by translating the statement into the “key-word” laden passage:

“Mr. Jesse thrust a video into my eager, sweating palm

“It was an exxxtra special, uncensored movie of him performing for Lindsay Lohan, Hillary Duff, Jessica Simpson, and vulnerable beauty contest participants

“In the end, we were satisfied that his bold and haughty approach to tricks was both natural and effective

“He was better than any Tom, Dick, or Herb. In many ways, we wanted to show our high rate of interest but realized we should give him credit, lots of credit. He was, we thought, bad to the bone.”

Such Google-Baiting would be beneath us. It would be wrong and we would have to administer discipline to teach us a lesson]

Our point, again, is that we learned great coin magicians can use gimmicked coins to enhance their performance

For the rest of us, gimmicks can help us look like great coin magicians in the making

This entire story is prologue to tease the Quinlan’s Inside Magic review of Alex Lourido’s new Rainbow Coins and perhaps boost our Page Rank. But mostly to tease the review of Mr. Lourido’s great new Rainbow Coins

I’ll tell you up-front it is a gimmick but what a great gimmick

To see a great magician with or without gimmicks of any kind, Check out Joe Jesse at his web page here:

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